Fred Smith And Friends Deserve No Special Protection

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Statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
8 November

8th November 2016

For Immediate Release

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Immigration of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas regrets to learn that the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (“IACHR”) has granted the Petition of the Grand Bahama Human Rights Association on behalf of five Save The Bays members who alleged that they feared for their lives at the hands of the State or by agents of the State. Messrs Fred Smith, Q.C., Romauld Ferrier, Francisco Nunez, Joseph Darville and Kirkland Bodie were granted precautionary measures against the Government by the IACHR.

The Ministry’s review of the allegations by Smith and the other petitioners found that the allegations were not properly grounded in facts and were without evidentiary support or legal merit. The Ministry finds it especially regrettable that the IACHR made its decision despite periodic communication from the Government that while the matter was under review a formal response was being finalized and would be issued soon.
As far as investigations revealed and as far as investigations could be conducted by the Royal Bahamas Police Force in the face of refusal of cooperation by any of the Petitioners, investigations showed that there was no reason that special protection of any kind should be granted to any of the Petitioners.

The Ministry therefore wishes to inform the public that the Government is committed to providing its comprehensive response setting out fully the true nature of the individual Petitioners and their circumstances and that of the Save The Bays organization. Police will continue to conduct investigations also involving post-September 2016 complaints when and if any of the Petitioners are willing and able to assist in the Police investigative process.

While the Government is concerned that a mockery should not be made of the judicial system and the relief that it offers, the Government stands ready to protect the rights of all, citizens and others, in The Bahamas when in real fear of death.

The Government will continue to inform the public in this matter.